Minister calls for UK broadband roadmap

Minister for competitiveness, Stephen Timms, is calling for a super-fast broadband roadmap to be drawn up, to make sure the UK does not fall behind other countries when its comes to e-commerce and access to public services.

Minister for competitiveness, Stephen Timms, is calling for a super-fast broadband roadmap to be drawn up, to make sure the UK does not fall behind other countries when its comes to e-commerce and access to public services.

Timms is also set to announce a high-level summit on the potential need for public sector intervention in broadband deployment.

Timms will outline his plans tonight in a scheduled speech to a conference organised by government broadband advisory body The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG).

Timms said, "When I became e-commerce minister five years ago, the UK was neck and neck with Croatia on broadband availability and use.

"We fixed that problem, and put Britain in a leading position. However, today we face a new challenge.

Other countries are starting to invest in new, fibre-based infrastructure, delivering considerably higher bandwidth than is available in the UK today."

Timms wants to bring together the public sector, the broadband industry, and regulator Ofcom to draw up a super fast broadband roadmap for the UK.

At the moment, the usual maximum basic broadband access speed offered to users over copper wiring is 8mbps, which is expected to reach nearly 20mbps over the next two years with new DSL access technology.

But with multimedia services spiralling over the web, faster fibre access to the home may be the only way that the UK can keep up with other countries. France, Sweden and South Korea are among those committed to fibre roll-outs.

A recent Ofcom report suggested wider fibre deployments in the UK may be necessary.

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